The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 12.11.95
Taped from Richmond, VA
Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler
Owen Hart v. Jeff Hardy
Hardy tries a headlock, but Owen puts him down with a knee and follows with a backbreaker. Jeff, it should be noted, appears to have crafted his tights out of a pair of curtains from the 70s. So kudos for recycling. Owen lays him out with a clothesline (which Jeff sells with a full Jannetty flip) and a missile dropkick finishes at 2:30. Yoko adds a buttdrop for good measure, and this prompts Diesel to leave his backstage seat and make the save. So either this was taped before the heelish interview from the live show or they were just letting him be the same person while they figured it out.
Aja Kong v. Chapparita Asari
Asari gets a crazy handspring mule kick, but Kong bowls her over and then just punches her in the face repeatedly. Well that works. Package piledriver looks to finish, but Kong picks her up at two. She keeps kicking Asari’s ass while Lawler makes lame fat jokes about Kong (after a comment about eating potatoes, Vince notes “There’s quite a few potatoes in the ring right now.” And that’s a shoot.) Kong gets a splash for two but picks her up, and Asari quickly comes back before missing the Sky Twister Press. Kong finishes her with the backfist at 4:00. Asari is bleeding heavily from the nose afterwards, and given how hard Kong was hitting her, I’m not shocked at all. This was seriously one of the stiffest matches ever seen on RAW. **1/2 This was designed to push Kong to a title match when it was filmed, but by the time it aired Alundra Blayze was already on the outs with the promotion and that’s probably why they didn’t say anything about her on commentary. In fact they largely ignored the match and just spent the whole time making fat jokes.
Shawn Michaels sits down with Todd, discussing possible retirement. Todd: “You haven’t been WWF champion, but you’ve had a good career.” That’s kind of a dick thing to say. Shawn basically calls him out for being such a twatburger with that line of questioning and INTERVIEW OVER. Oh great, Todd made him lose his smile.
Ahmed Johnson v. Rick Stockhauser
That’s a pretty good name for the jobber, actually. Ahmed quickly hits him with a spinebuster as the goof is tripping over his own feet, and then repeats it because the first one looked so shitty. Pearl River Plunge finishes at 1:05. Dean Douglas does a drop-in promo here as well, which is kind of scummy because they definitely knew by this point that Douglas was injured and wouldn’t be wrestling at the PPV. Afterwards, Ahmed declares to Lawler that he’s not a man of words, he’s a man of action. Truer words have never been spoken.
The RAW Bowl: Coming New Years Day! Did they seriously expect anyone to give a shit about this?
Speaking of things no sane person could give a shit about, Sid and The Kid get promo time, as Sid rambles about Marty Jannetty, and Kid is still working out his heel character.
Bret Hart v. Mr. Bob Backlund
They’ve got lots of time here, so we’ll see if Bret is motivated or not. They fight over a facelock while Jerry Lawler interviews Diana Smith at ringside and she has a perpetual bitchface while delivering terrible lines. She got a LITTLE bit better in 96, but not much. Bret and Bob keep fighting on the ropes for a waistlock and we take a break. Back with Bob clowning around outside the ring, but back inside the ring Bob goes for the chickenwing and Bret makes the ropes. So then Bob goes to work on the arm FOREVER and the crowd is just dead silent while I go read the WON from that week to kill time. Choice quote from that issue:
“They also said that DiBiase was reviving the Million Dollar Belt and it would be a newcomer to the company who would get it, which certainly smells like Steve Austin (probably under a different name), although it could also be the return of Jeff Jarrett. When people used to say that Austin was going to be the next Ric Flair, I always disagreed and thought it was more likely he’d be the next Ted DiBiase.”
Or, you know, he could be the biggest star in the history of wrestling. Either way.
Anyway, we take a second break and return with Bret trying the Sharpshooter, but Bulldog runs in for the DQ at 14:00. *1/2 Both guys were sleepwalking through that one.
Next week: Razor Ramon v. Yokozuna!
No wonder I didn’t order that PPV back in 1995.
The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 12.11.95
Live from Charlotte, NC
Your hosts are Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan & Mongo
Eddie Guerrero v. The Mysterious Mr. JL
We’re joined in the ring without entrances, as Eddie gets a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two and slingshots in with a senton. Backdrop suplex gets two. JL comes back with some gymnastics, but Eddie drops him with an atomic drop. Eddie bails to the floor and comes back in with a flying wristlock, but JL dropkicks him to the floor and follows with a somersault senton. Back in, that gets two. Bobby, meanwhile, is once again talking about the mythical airports where everyone is talking about the triangle match at Starrcade. And Eddie Guerrero. They trade pinfall attempts off a sunset flip and Eddie finishes off that at 4:20. ***
Lex Luger is out to warn Sting that no quarter shall be asked or given at Starrcade.
Disco Inferno v. Mr. Wonderful
Paul’s operatic theme is hilarious, as he was reinventing himself again before his career suddenly ended for good right after this. Disco actually attacks and gets the advantage, but charges and hits an elbow as Orndorff makes the comeback with the Boogie Woogie Elbow and then finishes with a crazy vicious backdrop driver at 2:30. I hope no one got hurt on that one, because Orndorff looked like he was struggling with it and Disco damn near landed on the top of his head. * So this would have been Orndorff’s last match, I guess.
The Four Horsemen are out and Pillman goes off on a wacky rant against the Dungeon of Doom and then Paul Orndorff, really starting to hone the unhinged maniac style of the Loose Cannon. This brings Orndorff out to get into Pillman’s face, as he points out that he turned down a position in the Horsemen and that’s why Pillman got the spot. This prompts a brawl between them and it looks like Arn and Flair are going to play peacekeeper, but then just decide to mug the poor guy and end his career with a spike piledriver on the floor. This was a weird angle in that it was very meta with Orndorff using the real life storyline of him turning down a spot in the Horsemen to set up the angle, which led to an injury angle of Orndorff having a broken neck, but then that turned into real life as he never came back from the injury and retired to become an agent. This was supposed to be a massive heel move by the Horsemen, but it was totally the wrong city for that and literally no one in the crowd appeared to give a shit that Orndorff’s career was possibly over.
Lex Luger v. Hacksaw Jim Duggan
I expect Rusev to run out of the crowd and destroy both guys. Duggan chases Luger out of the ring while the EMTs take Orndorff out on a stretcher. Duggan with a pair of clotheslines, but Jimmy Hart gets involved and the Torture Rack finishes at 2:41. DUD This was a weird pairing, as Duggan was inhabiting his own strange orbit with taped-fist matches against midcard slugs and jobbers and never seemed to cross over with the actual main eventers.
Randy Savage is not a-scared of no Giants next week.
Hulk Hogan & Sting v. Ric Flair & Arn Anderson
The babyfaces double-team Arn and then Flair until a well-timed cheapshot from Flair turns the tide on Hogan. The Horsemen work on Hulk’s arm, but he tags out to Sting, who comes in with a press slam on Flair. Flair slugs him down again and they do the pinfall reversal sequence, but Flair gets an atomic drop to take over. Arn goes up and gets slammed off, but Hogan stupidly distracts the ref and Sting takes a DDT to become face in peril. This brings out Luger to attack Hogan while the Horsemen double-team Sting. Flair goes to work on the knee while Hogan keeps stupidly distracting the ref, and it’s figure-four time for Sting. Sting hulks up out of that as usual and pulls Flair to the corner for a false tag with Hogan while the Horsemen switch off and go back to work on Sting. Flair throws chops and Sting has had enough of that and slams Flair off the top for two. The Horsemen cut the ring off again, but Arn puts his head down and it’s finally hot tag Hogan, although fans hate Hogan in Charlotte and don’t even pop for it. Hulk no-sells the spinebuster and finishes Arn with the legdrop at 13:23. The poor fans in the front row with their planted Hogan merch were so pissed off that you could see them throwing it down in disgust. According to the Observer, security was confiscating Flair signs and merchandise and replacing them with Hogan stuff for TV purposes. And worst of all, Hogan wasn’t even at Starrcade! What the fuck is the point of putting him over here with a hostile crowd when he doesn’t even have a storyline? Especially since Flair is the guy about to get the title! Decent match, but that crowd did NOT want to see Hogan and it killed the finish dead. **1/4 The Horsemen try the beatdown, but chaos erupts with Luger and Savage both trying to make the save and everything going badly. And then we get a long, rambling interview from the babyfaces to artificially stretch this show past the overrun time. This show in particular, combined with the past few weeks, really show how the fanbase was completely rejecting Hogan as the top babyface at this point. And it would only get worse at the start of 1996!
Next week: Randy Savage defends against the Giant! And something else you might have heard about occurs!
This show was a disaster on a lot of levels. Good thing we’ve moved past the dark days of screwing over guys in their hometown out of spite.